Eating less meat is the only way to tackle the greenhouse gas emissions from farms, according to Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett.

His comments come just before Ben Bradshaw, minister for animal welfare, reportedly said a return to rationing could be the best way to control emissions from production. Farming was responsible for 9% of the UK's emissions and nearly half came from "the belching and farting of farm animals", said Melchett.

Improving diet or genetics of animals had a minimal effect on emissions, so cutting consumption was the only answer, Melchett added. "Demand for cheap meat, which is often imported a great distance, is rising. The solution is more local and organic meat, but we will have to eat less meat as well."

The organic movement does not see this as a threat, however. Tom Cowcher of Cambrian Organics said: "People may buy organic meat less frequently but it is more satisfying, tasty and better nutritionally."

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